2015 catch up

Here we are, almost halfway through February, and I still have not posted about all the things I made in the tail end of 2015.  Let’s take care of that now before 2016 comes to a close and I am in the same spot again.  In the last two months of 2015 I used 40.5 yards of fabric for my own projects.  This total doesn’t include the fabric I used from the Bristol Opera House to make costumes for one of their productions.  Those 40.5 yards made up 15 new garments for myself and others, none of which have been blogged about.

What did I make?

I made another version of McCall’s 6744 back in August. This time I made view C, the short faux wrap version out of a purple floral ITY I got at a fabric sale we had at work over the summer.  This version and the first version both remain unphotographed as I am never going to wear them in public as dresses. The amount of ease in the pattern makes them so incredibly unflattering on my body. This is one of the three baggy fitting dresses I made in 2015.   I will wear them as swimsuit cover ups for when we next go to Dale Hollow Lake, but that is it.  It is just not something I can wear and feel confident in.

I made a couple of Halloween costumes in October for Eric and my niece.  My niece requested a Wonder Woman costume way back in March, so of course I put it off until October.  I used a Jalie 2792 to make it.  I am going to write a  tutorial for October about converting this pattern because it is so versatile.  What Wonder Woman costume wouldn’t be complete without a cape?  I drafted a simple cape to go with her Leotard.  I also made Eric a costume for our annual Halloween party.  We went with a carnival theme this year and he was the carnival barker.  That meant he needed a great tail jacket.  I had some iridescent red/black shantung that had been languishing in my stash for ages.  I used McCall’s 6143, which I have used before, and it turned out perfectly.  Between both costumes I used a bunch of scraps and 3 yards of stashed fabrics.   I tried to take some pics but they turned out pretty bad, too dark, kinda blurry, just all around not great on my part.  So I do not have anything that I am willing to share for these.  Although you can see the Wonder Woman leotard in my Instagram feed.

Musings of a Seamstress - summer concert tee

I started November off by making another Dixie DIY’s Summer Concert Tee. This is my fifth version of this tee.  Goodness, I love this pattern and for good reason!  It is such a quick easy make with only three pattern pieces, four if you use the sleeve bands.  The pattern hack options are virtually endless too.   It is super flattering when worn belted at the midsection too.  For this version I used two yards of a super soft jersey knit from one of the Girl Charlee Knitfix bags.  I call this tee secret pajamas because it is so incredibly soft and comfy.  You can check out a few of my previous versions here and here.

Musings of a Seamstress - PJ pants

Between the end of November and December I made nine pairs of pajama pants, one of which is not pictured above. Four of the pairs are for myself, two are for Eric and three are for gifts.  I used 12 yards of stash flannel and 10.5 yards of new flannel that I purchased on Black Friday from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  One of the pairs I made for myself is even sewing themed!  I love making pajama pants because they are quick, easy and a great stashbuster.  I am wearing the pink fox print pair right now and they are super comfy.

I even squeezed in two new vests for Eric, but have not managed to photograph either one. One is a brown plaid with a little bit of orange in it.  The other is a gray and black plaid.  These have been on my to do list for at least a year now since he has been asking for a brown vest after I made the very first one.  I am glad I finally got around to making them.  I, of course, used my TNT vest pattern, Simplicity’s Project Runway 2870. This pattern is sadly now out of print, but if you have it in your stash I recommend it.  I have lost count of how many versions of this pattern I have made.  They are definitely a staple in Eric’s work wardrobe.  Most of the fabrics for these came from the stash, since they have been on the to do list for awhile.   Between the two vests I used up 3 more yards of stash fabric.  I only had to purchase 1.5 yards of lining for one of them, which I used all of.

I did end 2015 with six UFO’s!  I am not pleased about having any UFO’s, but six isn’t too bad when I look at the total of what I did complete.  Sadly, one of the UFO’s just needs a rolled hem and it is done.  A couple of them are undergarments for my next renaissance costume, so those are definitely going to get done this year.  The others are summer garments that I hope to get too in the spring.  I am not feeling motivated to sew the swimsuit muslin and subsequently the actual suit when there is snow on the ground and icicles hanging from my gutters.  To be fair though, I am also not motivated to sew the winter coat I want to make either since it has been a much milder winter.  What can I say, I am a fickle sewist!

For now it is back to February sewing and stashbusting.  How is your 2016 going so far?

Sunday Lately Week 58

Sunday Lately

Hey Sewcialists! I recently joined the Blogger Tribe on Facebook.  They are a fun and welcoming group that I am honored to join.  Every Sunday morning there is a prompt to write about our week and just a general brain dump.  I really like this idea.  I think it will help me to get back into blogging regularly. Plus, it is an easy way to blog about all of those little things that I think about but do not have enough to make a full post out of.  Normally, this is supposed to be posted by 9am, but since I just joined the group I am posting it now.  The theme for this week is Creating, Finding, Switching, Forgetting, Craving.


I have not been creating much this week.  I started this week by getting projects cut out for the Pattern Review wardrobe contest. I had big plans on Friday while driving home from work to sew them up, but about 30 minutes after I got home I immediately got sick.    I had a feeling all week that I was on the verge of getting a terrible cold but I kept pushing because I had stuff to get done.  Then it finally hit me on Friday.  Today I am feeling a bit better and I am hoping to get some more of my wardrobe pieces cut out to sew next week.


I am working on finding more time!  I have a lot of hobbies  and not enough time for all of them.  This year I am working to find a better balance.  To do this I need to be better at scheduling my time to make sure I take full advantage of the time I have to do the things that are important.  One of my newest hobbies is photography and learning how to use my new Nikon DSLR camera.


I am switching gears from winter sewing to spring/summer sewing.  After getting the paper pattern pieces cut for my Cascade Duffle coat, I decided not to make it.  This winter has been pretty mild and I just cannot see needing it by the time I would get it done.  Instead I am switching to making my 10 piece wardrobe for the contest.


True  story, I forgot the date of Eric and I’s anniversary.  We were talking about what we were going to do and I could not for the life of me remember the date.  Yep, that is a thing that happened.


After the last couple of months of working 60+ hour weeks, I am craving a vacation!  I have two fabulous trips to Canada planned for this summer.  One is a girls trip to Stratford to soak up some great theatre.  I haven’t been here in 15 years and I am looking forward to this a lot.  The second trip will be for Eric and I, and  we are going to Niagara Falls.  Neither of us have ever been before, so it should be a lot of fun.

That wraps up my week.  How did your week go?

How I planned my capsule wardrobe

Hey sewcialists!  I don’t know if you have heard but there are two different wardrobe contests starting on February 1st!  I am so excited about these and knew I had to join in.  The first is hosted by Pattern Review and runs from February 1st until March 31st.  The requirement is to have 10 total pieces in your wardrobe with rules about what type of garments need to be included, but there is room for free choice pieces.  The second is being hosted on the Sew-A-Longs & Sewing Contests Facebook group and it runs from February 1st until May 31st.  This one is inspired by the Pattern Review version but meant to be a little more flexible in terms of time deadlines and no requirements for specific type of garments.  I am going to use the same collection for both contests and this is how I planned it.

Musings of a Seamstress - pattern stash

For me the planning starts with the patterns!  The Pattern Review contest requires 2 bottoms, 2 tops, 1 topper, 5 free choice for a total of 10 pieces.  I decided my breakdown would be 2 bottoms, 4 tops, 2 toppers, and 2 dresses.  I had a pretty good start to picking out patterns for each of these pieces since most had been on my must make list for months now.  I started with bottoms, since they will be the base for everything, then I moved to tops in styles that worked for the bottoms I choose.  Then I went to toppers to coordinate with each top and bottom combination.  With all those picked, I moved on to dresses. I left them last since they only have to coordinate with the toppers.  I laid each of the patterns I picked out, so I could see what they would all look like together. It was great to see them all together and to identify any gaps in my capsule wardrobe.   I then pulled several others that I thought might work with what I had already chosen and picked the last few garments.

Musings of a Seamstress - stash

Once I had the patterns I went shopping in my fabric stash.  I am so grateful that it is large enough for me to be able to do that at 8:30 pm while in my pajamas!  Much like how I picked the patterns, I went in the same order for fabrics; bottoms first, then tops, followed by toppers, and finally dresses.  I also laid all of these out next to each other with the intended pattern on top.  This allowed me to easily visualize what the wardrobe would look like sewn up.  I played around with the different combinations and other fabrics from my stash while continuously asking myself “Does this look like it came from the same person’s closest?” In the end I think I came up with a great collection that I will enjoy wearing and will mix well into my current wardrobe.

So, what did I pick?

Musings of a Seamstress - bottoms

Going in order of choice, for bottoms, I choose the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files. I wanted to keep my choice of bottoms pretty neutral since that is what I am comfortable wearing and it allows me to be more creative with my tops.   I am going to use the dusty pink stretch denim to make the skinny pattern version.  I have been getting more into colored denim over the last few years and I really am loving it.  It adds a little fun into what could easily be too boring of a neutral.  I am also going to make the flared version of these jeans with the dark stretch denim.  I want to make these with a little more of a seventies vibe, which means a deep cuff at the hem.  I haven’t purchased the flare expansion yet because I am still trying to decide if purchasing the ebook would be worth it for me.  Unfortunately, I haven’t found anyone yet who has used it to know how helpful it will be.  If you have it, let me know your thoughts on it!

Musings of a Seamstress - tops

Next up, tops!  This is the one I loved picking the most since it is the thing I sew the most.   I wanted this to be the category that made the boldest statement, so I choose lots of fun prints.  While they are all different prints and patterns, combined they all look like they could come from the same closet.  Starting with the bottom left is McCall’s 7093 version D, which I will be using the black and white abstract peach skin combined with black georgette.  Above that is Simplicity 2690 view C (OOP) in a plum lace printed chiffon.  While I haven’t made this pattern before, this style is one of my favorites on me.  Next to this pattern is Simplicity 1062, in a rose print polka dot chiffon with a black  knit back.  I am going to heavily modify this pattern, so it will not look like the envelope.  I want it to be short sleeved and a bit longer in length.  Finally, at the bottom right is McCall’s 7095 view D,  in a graphic black, gray, and white tree print silky solid. This is one that has been on my must make list since I saw it when it was first released.  I am now on the hunt for the perfect white lace for the yoke of this version.

Musings of a Seamstress - jackets

Oh jackets, this was a surprising hard category for me to finalize.  I was certain that I wanted to make the Grainline Morris Blazer in a black solid sequin with a georgette lining.  This has been on my must make list since August.  August!!  Well now it is time to stop putting it off and get it sewn.  The other topper I want to make is Butterick 5616.  Originally, I was thinking of making a white denim version, to which I do not have the fabric for that.  Then I remember that fantastic lightweight army green wool I picked up last year.  That green wool looks great with all of the prints I picked for my tops too.

Musings of a Seamstress - dresses

Finally, the dresses.  I originally thought I was going to use some bold prints I have stashed away for these, but when I put those prints next to all the other garments they just didn’t work for this capsule.  They were very fall inspired and I want this collection to be a little more of a transition into spring. The Cashmerette Appleton was another garment on my must make list.  I am going to make the 3/4 sleeve version in a heathered dark lilac jersey because I think that will work well with both jackets and still be strong on it’s own.  The final piece in the collection is Simplicity 1808 verions B in a coral jersey.  I love that this pattern is basic enough to wear with the two jackets I picked for this capsule, but also fit in with several other toppers currently in my wardrobe.

That is my plan for the garments to make.  Now on to plan out my sewing time to get it all accomplished within the two month time frame.  Of course, none of these are patterns I have sewn previously, so I still need to cut out the paper patterns and make muslins of the jackets and jeans before cutting into my fabrics.  I guess I know what I will be doing for the next few nights!

Are you joining in for the contest?  What is your plan?

2016 Goals

Happy New Years to all my sewcialist friends!  I hope your years are off to a great start!  I know mine is.  I do have a few goals that I want to accomplish this year.  In my 2015 review post I mentioned goals related to my results of last year, so here they are.

  1.  Sew 100 yards of stash fabric.  I used 83.5 yards last year and I really thought I would have used at least 100 yards.  Some other things happened and, of course, I over scheduled myself with some projects for others so I didn’t quite hit that number.  This year I don’t want to do that and I want to stick to my goal of using 100 yards.  I am going to continue to track my usage to hold myself accountable.  If you are interested in the spreadsheets I use to keep, you can download them through the this link, 2016 Sewing Stats.  I am also co-hosting the Stashbusting Sewalong again this year.  Go to the Facebook group to check it out and join us.
  2. Sew more selfishly for Eric and I.  I actually didn’t make Eric a lot of things this year, which is unfortunate.  I did make him a pretty in depth project with the Albion coat, but other than that I made him 2 vests and 2 pairs of pj pants.  This month I am sewing myself a new wool coat and next fall I want to sew Eric the Thread Theory Goldstream coat. I know I want to sew more indie patterns this year as research (see #6).  I am, however, going to strive towards making at least 60 total garments this year, including my renaissance costume.
  3. Buy less fabric.  I have not tallied up the exact total of my stash in several years now because, quite frankly, it is too overwhelming of a task.  I am fairly certain that I have somewhere around 8oo yards of fabric stashed away in my 8’x10′ sewing room.  It takes up a lot of space.  My room is packed full.  I absolutely cannot add to the stash again this year like I did last year.  I just do not have anywhere to put it.  I am not sure if I spent less/brought in less in 2015 compared to 2014, but I will do better in 2016.  I bought 194.5 yards this past year, so my goal for 2016 is to buy less than 100 yards.  Who wouldn’t like to have some extra money too?  I know I would!
  4. Be more conscience about my fabric choices.  I know that I cannot cut out buying fabric all together.  That would be real rough.  Instead I would like to put more thought behind my choices.  I do not want to purchase cheap fabrics just because I like the prints or color.  I want to make sure I am buying fabrics that go with my coloring and are going to last.  I plan on investing a little more to get higher quality fabrics, like wool.
  5. Pattern more.  I do this as my day job and I want to do it more for myself.  I have a couple of patterns I have been working on during my lunch breaks for the last couple of months that I want to make fairly soon.  One of the patterns is a new coat using that awesome Aztec fabric I got on Black Friday.  I haven’t really put this out there for the whole of the sewing community yet, but my long term goal is to release these patterns under my own indie label.  I have been and will continue to work on figuring out what my brand and niche will be.  Right now my goal is to take this year to figure that out and to start releasing patterns in 2017.  That is the huge goal.  I have a lot of work to do there, including making PDF versions of my patterns, writing our instructions, and creating illustrations.
  6. Improve my blog.  There are three specific things I want to do to improve my blog.  First, is take better photography.  I was able to pull together several giftcards I had been saving from Christmas and my birthday to purchase a new DSLR camera over the summer.  I have been slowly learning to use it.  I need to speed up that learning now.  Second, I need to post more regularly, like at least once week.  If I want to be able to release a successful pattern line I need to post more to build a following and generate buzz about my patterns.  Third,  I need to write more tutorials.  I have so many in mind it is not even funny.  I just need to take the time to write them out.  Some of the ones I want to write about are the method I use for inserting zippers, how I add a lining to coat sleeves, and how to make your own toggle closures.

There you have it. My 2016 goals and plans.  What are you working towards this year?

2015 in Review

McCall's 6073 M6073

My favorite maxi of 2015!

Let’s talk about crazy years!  This has definitely been one of them, full of ups and downs.  On this first day of the new year, I want to take some time to review my 2015 sewing journey.  December is always my craziest busiest time of year for me between work stuffs and Christmas stuffs.  I barely had time to sew the handmade Christmas gifts I wanted to give, let alone any personal sewing I wanted to accomplish.  With  that I just did not have the time needed to put into blogging.  I feel like this past year has been exceptionally more busy.  Eric would have me point out that I do it to myself because I over schedule my time.  I am not going to disagree with that point and, in fact, I realize I do this at work as well.  I am going to try to work on that in 2016.

Albion front

My favorite make for Eric

That’s enough about December, what about the rest of the year?  I have sewn a fair amount this past year, considering it is also what I spend my working hours doing for others.  I have sewn a total of 55 garments for myself and others in 2015, 29 for myself and 26 for others.  As much as I like to call myself a selfish seamstress, I think that these numbers show I am not.  Those 55 garments account for 141.75 yards of fabric used!  Now not all of that came from stash, 83.5 yds was stash and 58.25 yds was new.  I have a couple of goals for 2016 relating to these numbers.

Musings of a Seamstress

One of my personal top makes.

Sadly, even though I used 141.75 yards, I added 194.5 yards.  That’s a gain of 52.75 yards into the stash this year.  Boo! :(  There are definitely some goals pertaining to this and I did such a better job at tracking this year thanks to my handy spreadsheet tracker that I will do it again.  Some of the trends I noticed for my 2015 sewing included lots of dresses were sewn (10 for me), chevrons and more chevrons, and my go to fabrics were knits.  I am not sad about any of these things!    I am sure I will make a ton of dresses for 2016 using a lot of knits.  Chevrons may not be so heavily used this year, but I am certain it will be replaced with some other print, like polkadots maybe.  Who knows, I like to sew where ever the wind blows me and I don’t know where that is yet.

Musings of a Seamstress

One of my least favorite makes.

This past year, I have learned a few of new things about my personal sewing. First, I do not like the baggy loose fit dresses.  I made 3 year using different patterns and none of them are in my favorites.  I just feel sloppy wearing them when they are so loose in the top.  Second, I hate wearing scuba!  Scuba is easy to sew and easy to care for, but man is it hot!  It is pure 100% polyester, so I get the breath-ability of it is just never going to happen, but as someone who gets hot easily this makes me uncomfortable.  Also, it reminds me of 1970’s leisure suits and we just cannot do that.  Third, pockets in dresses are the best thing since sliced bread.  Yep, I said it!  Since sliced bread!  Seriously,  I love them so much that I will be adding pockets to most future dresses.

I am going to write out a my goals for 2016 hopefully tomorrow or Sunday for the whole of the sewing community to see.  If I have it out there then I make it more real and feel the need to accomplish it.  You can probably guess on a few of those goals based on this post, but I want to be inspired by yours.  What are your goals for 2016?


Black Friday Shopping & Building a Stash

Musings of a Seamstress - Aztec coating

I hope all my US readers had a very happy Thanksgiving this past Thursday.  I know Eric and I did. We drove all over the north half of Indiana to celebrate with each of our families.  I think we spent somewhere close to 8 hours of the day in the car driving.  We were exhausted by the time we pulled into our driveway that evening.  It was a long day full of great food and family.

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is that it also marks the start of the Christmas season in our house.  We do not put up any Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving.  For me, it also marks the start of Christmas shopping.  Of course, it is no secret that I love shopping and Black Friday.  It all stems from my mom taking my sister and I out early in the morning on Black Friday to go shopping when we were younger. These days, I really only go to Jo-Ann’s to get my shopping fix and this year was no exception.  While I love Black Friday, it should be noted that I am very against shopping on Thanksgiving day.

Musings of a Seamstress - apparel fabric

I picked up some great fabrics, that I have been eyeing for quite sometime, to add to my stash.  One of which is that heavyweight Aztec woven at the top of this post.  It will eventually be a coat of some variety with the black faux leather as binding. Right now, I have two different ideas in mind and I am so torn on which one to go with, but that is a post for another time.  I also got a grey fleece lined sweater knit, that has had me curious to try for a couple of months now, and a black/grey chambray.

Musings of a Seamstress - cottons

Ever since Jo-Ann’s released the line of Doctor Who fabrics I knew I had to have the exploding Tardis cotton, so I picked up 4 yards of it.  I am thinking a cute dress with a Peter Pan collar to wear to Gen Con next year.  I just could not pass up the vintage sewing machine cotton either. I think this may be a lining for a tote bag or something.

Musings of a Seamstress - flannels

Of course, flannels made it into my shopping bags.  Flannel is the main reason I go to Jo-Ann’s for Black Friday.  For $1.74 a yard you just cannot lose on this one.  I do already have a ton of flannel still in my stash, but none that I wanted to give up and make into Christmas jammies for other people.   I did also pick up some solid color flannel to keep on hand to use as underlining in any coats I may be making in the coming months.

Somehow, I have misplaced my receipt from my Friday shopping excursion and now have no way to track what I paid for each of these pieces.  The OCD in me is having a hard time with this, since I have been keeping a very detailed record of everything I have purchased, sewn up, and given-away.  I will just have to estimate these purchases I guess.

Musings of a Seamstress - button stash

In keeping track of everything, I realized I was very close to using more than I have purchased this year, but that has now been blown out of the water by my Black Friday trips. I always strive to use more than I purchase through out the year, but it looks like my stash will be growing this year and I am okay with that.

Musings of a Seamstress - notions stash

Here’s the deal, I keep readily available a stash of most sewing supplies and fabrics.  It is not because I am a hoarder, I most definitely throw out a lot of stuff around my house all the time.  Ask Eric, today alone I tossed a pair of his pants that he loved.  In fact I delight in using something up in its entirety, like finishing off a bottle of soap or burning the last bit of a candle.  My philosophy is to keep my sewing room like I keep my pantry, well stocked.  After sewing for as long as I have been, I can say that my sewing room is just that.  Having such a well stocked sewing space means that I can make just about anything I want whenever the inspiration strikes me.  It means that I do not have to stop sewing at 9pm because I realized I didn’t buy a zipper or buttons or whatever finishing notions I need and now the stores are closed so I cannot finish my garment.  While my sewing space is crowded and more often than not messy, it allows me the freedom to be more creative with my garments.  For example, if I am making a dress and I start to hem it and it doesn’t look the way I had envisioned, I can immediately try something else without having to make a trip to the store.  I love having  all the things I need at my disposal.

Musings of a Seamstress - zipper stash

I truly believe that building up your fabric stash and sewing supplies is like stocking your kitchen pantry. Plan your sewing like you plan your meals.  The more you have on hand the less time and money you spend at the store.  I know it is not ideal for everyone, but if you want to build up your fabric stash and sewing supplies here are some tips to try.

  1.  Always shop the sales.  Much like grocery shopping, this will help you to save money in the long run.  You don’t have to go crazy and buy all the things all at once, but make sure you only buy things that are on sale or you can use a coupon for.  Never pay full retail price for anything.  Once you start really paying attention to their sales you will see a pattern to be able to better plan your shopping.
  2. Always have coupons.  There are so many ways to get good coupons.  Jo-Ann’s has a mailing list you can sign up for, which is a must,  they have coupons on their mobile app,  they will email and text you coupons.  You should always have at least one coupon available to you at any given point.  You can search for Hobby Lobby coupon and one will always come up to use.  I do not shop Hancock’s as there isn’t one close to me but I believe they do a lot of the same things Jo-Ann’s does.
  3. Take stock and make a list.  Look at the projects you have made and ask yourself what items you constantly find yourself using.  Those are the things you should start buying in bulk.  For me one of my must buy notions is 1″ wide non roll elastic.  I use it in pj pants and go through it so quickly that it makes more sense for me to buy the 30 yard roll from Jo-Ann’s website than it does to buy a 1 yard package.  Right now the 30 yard roll is on sale for $20 while the 1 yard package is $5.  That is a savings of over $4 a yard, for a total savings of $120 for 30 yards.  To me, there is no question of which I should buy.  I also keep an on going list of patterns that I want to pick up saved to my phone, so that when they go on sale I can snatch them up.  I never ever pay full retail price for a pattern from the big 4. You can be guaranteed that they will be on sale every 3-4 weeks between Jo-Ann’s, Hancock’s and Hobby Lobby.  This also applies to purchasing fabrics.  If you do not use or wear linen, do not buy it just because it is on sale.  Start out by only purchasing those fabrics that you know you will eventually use.  Take it slow.
  4. Buy 3 yards.  If I find a fabric that I just have to have but I don’t know what I would use it for, I purchase 3 yards.  I have found that I can make just about anything out of 3 yards or less.  Most coat patterns that I want to make can come out of 3 yards.  I tend to be suspicious of patterns that take more than 4 yards.  Those make me nervous for how heavy the garment is going to be and how much fullness is in the pattern.  The only exception I have for this one is period costumes,  they are what they are in terms of fabric needed.  In my experience, even the patterns that say they take a bit more than 3 yards can actually fit into less fabric if you are willing to play around with your piece layout.  Don’t think that you have to abide by what the layout guides show you.
  5. Shop online. One of my go to online shops is Fabric Mart. They offer a wide variety of quality fabrics at deeply discounted prices.  They even have designer fabrics for cheap.  I also love Mood Fabrics and Girl Charlee Fabrics for their selection.  Wawak Sewing is a great source for purchasing thread and notions.  I use Corset Making Supplies to purchase all my spiral steel hoop boning.  There are so many options online the possibilities are endless!  Always check to for a first timers discount when you shop on a new to you site.  Typically it is a small percentage off, but every little bit helps.

Now that you are building your stash, make sure you are using it too.  Don’t build a stash unless you are positive you have a real passion for sewing.  Also, don’t feel guilty for having a stash!  Enjoy your carefully curated collection of fabrics by sewing up something great!

Creative Sewing Challenge

Musings of a Seamstress Blue Dot Georgia side

Well, that was an unexpected blogging break and now I have such a backlog of projects to share.  Today I am going to start with my version of Blue Dot Patterns Georgia Top.  Several weeks ago Melissa, of Mahlica Designs, asked me to participate in a Creative Sewing Challenge using my choice of Blue Dot Pattern.  I jumped at the chance to try a new to me pattern company and get creative with my version.

I decided to go with the Georgia Top, which is a quick  beginner level knit project with a dolman sleeve. The pattern itself is very easy to put together.  I think from beginning to end it took me about an hour.  I love a good quick project.

Musings of a Seamstress Blue Dot Georgia

For my version I added 15″ to the length to make it a dress on me.  I did cut a size XL, but because of the added length I added about 5″ in width to the bottom and tapered it upward.  I also cut the underarm curve shallower than the pattern to create a more pronounced dolman sleeve.  I used every bit of my 2 yards of tie dye chevron jersey rayon spandex.  This was one of the fabrics in the Girl Charlee August Knitfix.  I am obsessed with Knitfix, but that is a post for another time.  This fabric was a popular one from August and I was lucky enough to get it in my bag.  I had another dress planned for it but then it just called to be made into this pattern.  I think that was the best choice.


Musings of a Seamstress Blue Dot Georgia

Overall, I am very pleased with how this dress turned out.  I love this pattern! I am calling it secret pajamas because of how soft and comfortable this jersey is.  This is definitely a different dress silhouette for me, but it paid off trying it.  I got so many compliments on it today.  I have already planned my next version.  Next time I am going to add a little more width to the hip area.  I am also going to lengthen the sleeve by about 5″ and put bit of elastic in the sleeve to ruche it up a little with the longer sleeve.  Now, which fabric should I make the next one in?

Want to check out who else is participating with me in the Creative Sewing Challenge?  Check out the list below then hop on over to Mahlica Designs and Gatorbunny Sews to enter the giveaway they are hosting.

Michelle of thatblackchic
Ashley of sewnbyashley
Cindy of Cindyparret.com
Rachel of Bobbinsonmymind
Shanni from Shanniloves
Kyla of LifebyKy
Amy of thatssewamy

Zinck’s Fabric Haul

Musings of a Seamstress - Zinck's Fabric Outlet

At the end of September I finally got a chance to go to a fabric store that I have been dying to go to for over a year now.  Zinck’s Fabric Outlet is in Ligonier on my way back to my hometown.  It is about 2 hours away from me now.  Every time Eric and I have gone back home over the last year I have wanted to stop there, but never have.  We have either been coming through on a Sunday, when they are not open, or Eric is driving and he refuses to stop and aid in my fabric hoarding.  I don’t blame him for that either.  I mean, have you seen the size of my stash?  Septembers purchases officially put me 5.5 yards in hole for the year, with a grand total of 103.75 yards purchased and only 98.25 yards used.  Time to really get sewing in these last three months of the year.

Musings of a Seamstress - Zinck's Fabric Outlet

Let’s get back to the fabric goodness and ignore my hoarding addiction.  Zinick’s is huge!  The store is located in close proximity to a large Amish and Mennonite population, so they do have a large selection of basic solid color wovens.  However, that color organized wall above is all knits!  Every color and shade in a variety of different knits.  I may have went over this wall three or four times to make sure I saw everything.

Musings of a Seamstress - Zinck's Fabric Outlet

Then, when you turn around there are more printed knits, which is what the chevrons are, and a wide selection of printed chiffons.  There was a glen plaid chiffon that I am now regretting not getting.  I couldn’t picture what I would make with it, so I didn’t get it.  Maybe I was too overwhelmed by all the awesomeness, because now I can think of several things that could be great with that print.

Musings of a Seamstress - Zinck's Fabric Outlet

They did have a small selection of sparkly fabrics, which included the matte black solid sequin above.  With the population I mentioned earlier, this is just not the market for this kind of fabric.  That being said, that 3.99 is the cost per yard!  Umm…hello, that is a steal for solid sequins. I didn’t get any of this since I already have so much sequin fabric.  It was hard to pass it up at that price though.  It almost felt like I had to buy it, because you know, sequins.

Musings of a Seamstress - Zinck's Fabric Outlet

There was an entire wall of plaid flannels.  Also, very very tempting, but I wasn’t sure of any upcoming projects that I could use it for.  I passed on it for now.

Musings of a Seamstress - Zinck's Fabric Outlet

Most importantly, the 100% wool section. Do you see that red price sticker?  You sure are reading that right, $2.99 per yard.  Let me repeat that, 100% woo for less than $3 a yard! Sequins I can pass up at that price, but this…this must come home with me.  This is all pretty lightweight wool’s with a crisp hand.  Definitely not heavyweight coating fabric, but it will work great for a skirt or dress.

They also stock a very large selection of cotton quilting fabrics, including Homespun cotton prints, and a large selection of fleeces.  I even saw some great stretch denim, but they only had black and bright pink, neither of which I could see myself wearing.  At the front of the store are bins full of remnants that are all marked for under $2 a yard and bulk button purchases.  Just over a quarter of the store was filled with drapery and home decor fabrics, including all the trims  you could want to choose from too.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get pictures of  any of this, because I was too busy touching all the fabrics.  Maybe next time.

Are you wondering what I did buy?

Musings of a Seamstress - Zinck's Fabric Outlet

Well, I picked up two floral print chiffons at 3 yards each.  The one on the left is a crinkle chiffon with gold thread and a fuchsia and black watercolor floral that was $3.99 per yard ($11.97 total).  The one on the right is a tighter weave chiffon with a bright floral print that feels a little Asian inspired to me, for $2.99 per yard ($8.97 total).  Great prices for great prints that will make great pieces in my wardrobe.  

Musings of a Seamstress - Zinck's Fabric Outlet

Then there are all those knits that I spent so much time looking at.  I picked up three different knits at three yards each.  The first one on the left is a teal jersey for $1.96 a yard ($5.88 total) that is so incredibly soft I want to be wrapped up in it all the time.  When they were cutting this one there was a small hole in it, so they did give me the option of an extra quarter of a yard or she could re cut it at the hole. I took the extra quarter of a yard because the hole is small enough I think I can work around it.  I thought that was pretty awesome customer service of them to let me make the decision.  The dusty lilac in the center is also a jersey knit for a whooping $1.99 a yard ($5.97 total).  The blue on the right is a ponte knit for $1.96 a yard ($5.88 total), that has some tiny dye specks that are barely noticeable.  I almost squealed when I found this one, though.  Ponte is one of my new favorite knits and the color on this one is perfect.  It is more of a steely blue, which did not translate well in this picture.  In fact, none of the knits photographed well in terms of color.  I foresee some new fall dresses in the next month or so.

Musings of a Seamstress - Zinck's Fabric OutletLastly, I could not pass up the $2.99 a yard wool.  I picked up three yards of this army green wool for a total of $8.97.  That price is insane to me!  Again this is not the true color in this photo.  Silly camera phone.  I also grabbed a couple of silver separating zippers to go with the wool.  I think I either want to make some sort of moto jacket incorporating the zippers or a version of the Sewaholic Minoru Jacket.  Which would you make?

Final thoughts

All in all they have some amazing prices.  I am going to try to wash the knits here in the next couple of days and try them out, so I will let you know how the quality is once I make them up.  Maybe pick up some of those plaid flannels and some more knits.  The store didn’t have the best lighting. I had to take some bolts to other parts of the store to get a good idea of the true color.  I am guessing the building was was built in the 50’s or 60’s based on the massive light orbs hanging from the ceiling, so I expected it to have pretty poor lighting. I wish I would have gotten some pictures of the orbs though.  There were only two women working and they were very polite.   I am definitely going to try to stop here again sometime.

Monday Musings

It has been awhile since I have done a Monday Musings post.  I have so much that I am excited about and not enough time to write full posts for, so here it goes.

  • Fall is here!  Which means pumpkin spice and football.
  • BASIC!
  • I recently finished Felicia Day’s book You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost).
  • It was great and I recommend it!
  • I am super excited about fall sewing, even though I haven’t started it yet.
  • I really want to make fall dresses this year.
  • The theme for Eric and I’s annual Halloween party is County Fair.
  • I will be the town gossip who makes award winning pies and quilts.
  • I look forward to this role.
  • Since Eric is always the host and never plays a role he will be a carnival barker this year.
  • This will be the only costume I make.
  • Other than the awesome little girls Wonder Woman costume I am making.
  • I really need to finish it now.
  • I am part of the Old Lady Style Tribe, along with Leila, Anne, Heather, Catja, Gillian, and Elizabeth.
  • I love these women and their styles.
  • We will make one fierce tribe.
  • Look for my style contribution sometime this month.
  • I recently visited a new to me fabrics store called Zinck’s  Fabric Outlet.
  • Stay tuned for a fabric haul post later this week.

That’s it for now!  Have a great night!

Behind the Scenes


A couple of weeks ago Eric and I went to see the Elkhart Civic Theatre’s performance of Deathtrap at the Bristol Opera House.  One of our long time friends was in it, so we just had to go see it.  If you ever see that this play is being performed, do yourself a favor and go see it!!  I am not going to spoil the storyline because it is just awesome when you go into knowing nothing about it.  The only thing I will say is that it is a great whodunit thriller that will keep you guessing till the very end!  Go find a theatre and enjoy it!

Bristol Opera House

After the show, I had the pleasure of getting to explore the large collection of costumes.  Walking into the room this is the first glimpse you get.  To say it is packed is an understatement.  Row after row of all sorts of costumes stuffed so tightly together on each rack that you could spend days looking through every single garment.  I didn’t bring my actual fancy camera since I didn’t know I would get to do this, so pictures from my phone will have to suffice.  Maybe next time.

Bristol Opera House

There are quite a few ghost stories circulating around the theatre, which is to be expected since the building was built in 1897.  My friend giving me the tour told me one such story about the costume department in particular.

Bristol Opera HouseShe said that there is a ghost who will help you locate garments you are searching for when you cannot find them.  All you have to do is ask for her help.  When you return to the room the garment will either be on the end of a rack or you will immediately know where to go.  I believe in ghosts, so I am going to go with this story too.

Bristol Opera House

There was an article recently published in the local paper, The Truth, that details some of the other ghost stories centered around the theatre and some other locations in Elkhart.  It is a great read and I recommend checking it out.

Bristol Opera House

Back to the costumes!  This little number was one of the fun treasures I found.  Sequins galore, because working in the show choir industry, you know I have a love of sequins.  I am so curious as to which show this would have been used for.  It is just fun and flashy that I have no idea.

Bristol Opera House

I also discovered this gorgeously soft white vintage fur cape.  Based on how luxurious it felt and the condition it was in, I am guessing it is real fur.  Of course I had to try it on!

Bristol Opera House

Look at that ruched detailing on this 70’s dress.  Just fab!  The skirt was a poly of some type with this great floral burnout.

Bristol Opera House

Patchwork printed peppermint swirl skirt anyone? What a number this one is!

Bristol Opera House

Then there was this embroidered kimono inspired dress!  Ack!  The colors are just divine.   Again, another one of those garments that I would love to know more about which show it was used for.

Bristol Opera House

Then there were the hats!  So many hats!  Above every aisle were shelves every type of hat imaginable.  This was a shelf of just police hats.  Yep, that was it, all sorts of different police hats.

Bristol Opera House

This gorgeous little number caught my attention.  My first instinct is to say this is a French Baroque inspired hat.  Super fun.  I would love to find the dress that goes with this hat.

Bristol Opera HouseWhy stop at trying on furs, when I could easily try on hats too?  I am not sure of when this one is supposed to be from, my guess is either 40’s or 50’s.  If you know, comment below, because I am curious.  It was fun to try on and definitely makes me want to try my hand at vintage dressing.

Bristol Opera House

If you are going to costume any character, of course, accessories must be included.  This entire end of the aisle was shelf after shelf of totes filled with different accessories.  I did not get a chance to go through them, but I wish I had.

Bristol Opera House

Now, a lot of costumes are pulled from what they already have on hand, but the theatre does have a decent size stash of fabric as well those times that they need to make something.  It looks a lot like the current state of my fabric stash.

Bristol Opera House
This is where the costumers work.  A couple of machines, a rack of thread, and a tin of notions down in the dressing area.  Sometimes if they are working on a large number of costumes they will temporarily rent a space where they can spread out and bring in a few more machines.


My friend also talked about the troubles of having such a packed costuming storage and small sewing space.  They are talking about renovations they can make to improve those things, but both take time and money considering the age of the building.  They are trying to make other improvements as well to attract more patrons and donations.  One such area that they are currently working on is the front lobby.  I am excited to say that I will be helping out with that by making the new curtains to go into the far two windows!

I am sure most local theatre’s face similar funding issues like the Elkhart Civic Theatre.  If you want to help out volunteer, make a donation, or better yet, go see a show.  It makes a fun date night for sure.